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Resolve this deadlock



THE latest threats by the All Basotho Convention (ABC) to walk out of government following divisions over the SADC-driven National Peace and Unity Commission are yet another clear sign that all is not well within the coalition team. It could also serve as a vivid reminder of how unstable this government, and any other coalition government, is. Since 2017, the coalition government, first led by Thomas Thabane and now under the tutelage of Moeketsi Majoro, has been wobbling from one crisis to another. What has kept this coalition government together is a real fear that they could be swept out of power entirely were a fresh election to be held. It would be a pity were this coalition government to collapse with less than 12 months left before the country goes for another general election. At the centre of the latest fallout is the National Peace and Unity Commission which the ABC says is being pushed by SADC envoy Justice Dikgang Moseneke against their wishes. The ABC argues that the proposed Commission will be a vehicle that will promote impunity. The party has now threatened to reject the proposals when they come before parliament. Under the terms of the Commission, soldiers and politicians who are in prison over human rights violations would be set free if they truthfully testify and prove to the Commission that their acts were politically motivated. The Democratic Congress (DC) party and its surrogates within the coalition government are backing the Commission arguing it could help Lesotho heal following decades of conflict. As matters stand, the two biggest parties in the coalition government are singing from two different hymn books. SADC, which has grown increasingly impatient with Lesotho, wants its intervention swiftly concluded. That is why Justice Moseneke is beginning to make threats to whip Lesotho’s bickering leadership into line. We cannot, at present, see how Lesotho’s political leadership, can continue to resist Justice Moseneke’s nudge towards the endorsement of the Commission without coming across as spoilers. It is a well-known historical fact that we have been bickering as a people right from the declaration of independence in 1966. Our history drips with the tears of the oppressed. Having sunk to our lowest levels after the assassination of Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao in June 2015, we pleaded for foreign mediation that resulted in the Phumaphi Commission. With the current deadlock, we would like to believe that we might still need external help once more so that we can come to a common understanding as a nation. Without external assistance we do not see how we can successfully resolve this issue on our own. We remain firmly entrenched in our own positions. But either way, the deadlock must be broken. At the same time we sense that the two main political parties are already exploiting this highly emotive issue for political capital. This will be a key electoral issue in general elections set for next year. The two main political parties are already seeking to outdo each other on the campaign trail based on their diametrically opposed positions on the Commission issue. We admit though that this is a highly emotive issue. Lives were lost. The families of the victims want to see justice for their dead loved ones. They might not be prepared to forgive and move on just like that. In the search for a solution, Justice Moseneke and SADC might need to speak to the families of the victims once more and hear them out. Perhaps a much softer option that does not compromise the pursuit of justice can be sought while at the same time taking the country forward.

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